Reader’s Letter: What we all need to know

POSTED: 03/15/11 12:02 PM

Dear Editor,

The frequency and magnitude of hazards that are currently affecting this planet makes it necessary for all of us to take stock of our lives and to modify our style of living to help mitigate against these natural hazards, be it a volcanic eruption, hurricane, earthquake or tsunami to name the most common in this region.
Let’s face it, not everyone will be a fatal statistic following abnormally violent acts of nature, so those who are spared nature’s wrath need to work in a coordinated manner to bring the affected part of the planet to a state of normalcy in the soonest possible time.
But first, we need to mitigate against these hazards … including, building hurricane and earthquake resistant buildings, avoid building in hazard prone areas and testing evacuation procedures and routes in preparation for tsunami events. These are activities that the entire community must take part in to avoid the chaos and post event stress that normally affects ‘mentally unprepared’ persons, and even the so called ‘best of us’.
In Japan, the recent earthquake, resultant tsunami and nuclear accident necessitates that we, in the Caribbean region (that also forms our ‘ring of fire’), need to make the quantum leap in preparedness to avoid loss of life, by being intimately involved with both the mental and physical preparations to lessen the effects these hazards can cause.

So how can we be involved?
We all belong to one organisation or another or are part of a family unit. Each organization, whether it be church, financial, educational or sporting (to give a few examples) must have their own disaster plan and test this plan regularly…and yes, test your family plan too. On a community level, especially coastal communities, all residents must know that when they hear the siren blaring in a particular pattern that it is a tsunami warning, another pattern is for a river flood warning or hurricane warning. When residents recognize a tsunami warning, all must alert their neighbors or visitors who may not be aware and evacuate immediately to high ground along pre-determined safe routes, paying special attention to children and the elderly. This procedure must also be tested, because it is not as simple as it is stated.
In closing, I need to emphasize that there is also a greater spiritual hazard that we need to be prepared for. The Good Book correctly predicted that in the last days of this planet as we now know it, there will be wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and pestilence all over this world. Isn’t this revelation and tribulation time that we are currently experiencing long foretold in the Bible?
And it’s not over yet is what we all need to know, and to do something positive about it, is an imperative.

Donald De Riggs
Emergency Communications Consultant.

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